The Return of the Living Dead

Released: 1985

Directed by Dan O’Bannon

The Return of the Living Dead is an effective zombie film for two reasons: it pokes fun at George Romero’s vision of the zombie; and it provides a bloody and consistent, albeit exaggerated, story. At a medical supply warehouse, two workers release a chemical inside of a military issued container that causes the dead to rise from their graves.

This film features a blend of dark humor and messy mayhem is matched only by a select few, such as Braindead. In addition to the gore and laughs, the audience is presented with a new type of zombie. This zombie can move fast, speak, and strategize. If it was not for the less than serious tone of the film, these zombies have the potential to be rather scary.

The characters are not stereotypes from a summer camp; these characters are misfits and quirky middle managers. This is to say that these characters are somewhat developed and memorable.

The Return of the Living Dead by no means features a simplistic story; yet, it is able to bring everything together in the end. It certainly does not close all doors judging by four sequels the film generated. At the film’s conclusion, however, all the bases have been covered, closure has been achieved, and the audience is not left to wonder how to interpret the fate of a character.

Rating: 7/10

This film was reviewed as a part of Zombie Week 2013.

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